Catherine of Winchester

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Allegedly a depiction of Catherine of Winchester, 13th century. Seated in the middle, she is performing an undefined spell.

Catherine of Winchester (1209-67) [LoGA] was one of the Aureate magicians [11]. Little is known about her for certain, though it is reported she learned her magic from the Raven King himself. She was clearly a dedicated student, once banishing to Granada a young man who distracted her by repeatedly proposing marriage [63]. She is reported to have spoken with madmen, pursuant to the Aureate belief that madmen understood certain things useful to magicians that sane persons did not [33]. Curiously, the Aureate magician Martin Pale claimed to have learned his magic from her, although over two centuries passed between their lives [35].

Her birthplace is a pleasant if quiet town, but now sadly declined from what it was in Lady Catherine's day. Then it still bore the character of a great cathedral city which had been anciently capital of England - a thriving and populous place, the seat of commerce, of learning and of government - but it suffered severely in the Black Death and its fortunes have never recovered.

She apparently did write one book, The Book of the Lady Catherine of Winchester. One passage from it (translated from the original Latin by Jane Tobias) indicates a very typical medieval view of magic - that it is closely associated with nature, and that it is not something which humans can ever entirely control, but can comply with [LoGA].

Above all remember this: that magic belongs as much to the heart as to the head and everything which is done, should be done from love or joy or righteous anger. . . .

This understanding is a gift to us from the Raven King, the dear king of all magicians, who stands between England and the Other Lands, between all wild creatures and the world of men [LoGA].

Since she wrote her book in Latin it seems Lady Catherine was educated to a degree unusual for a woman in an age less enlightened than our own. And even in modern times the fame of this lady is not forgotten; a ship of his Majesty's navy, The Catherine of Winchester, is named after her[12].